ISLAMABAD: The commission investigating the May 2 US raid in Abbottabad has interviewed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s widows and daughters for the first time, it said Wednesday.
The “exhaustive interview” of Bin Laden’s three widows and two of his daughters took place on Tuesday, the commission announced in a brief statement.
Officials refused to divulge any further details.
Pakistan took custody of Bin Laden’s widows, two Saudis and one Yemeni, and around 10 of their children, after US Navy SEALs killed him and flew off with his body from Abbottabad.
The incident plunged US-Pakistani relations into crisis.
Initial efforts to repatriate the women and children ran aground when the commission in July ordered them to remain in Pakistan until further notice, indicating that it wanted to question them in relation to its inquiries.
The commission also interviewed the head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, on Wednesday and would question him again on Thursday, it said.
Questioning of a serving ISI chief by a civilian panel is extremely rare Pakistan where military intelligence is both feared and respected in equal measures and where the power of the army outstrips that of civilian leaders.
The discovery that Bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, seemingly for five years, and the unilateral American raid have been described by critics as the military’s worst disaster since Bangladesh separated from the country in 1971.
On Tuesday, members of the commission interviewed Doctor Shakil Afridi, a government surgeon who is being questioned over a free vaccination campaign he reportedly launched in March-April in the bin Laden’s neighbourhood.
Security officials in the area believe the doctor may have known about bin Laden’s presence and shared the information with US intelligence agents.
The commission has the power to summon military and civilian leaders.
The commission is tasked with investigating the “full facts” regarding Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan, the circumstances of the American raid that killed him and the lapses “if any” of Pakistani authorities.